Are-we-born-to-travel?

My 30 year love affair.

It was 30 years ago this winter that I first clicked into a pair of skis, and from that very first incredibly scary green run at Falls Creek in Victoria, Australia I fell head over heels in love – although there was more head over heels than love in that first week. Since then I have skied over 500 days, at 28 different resorts in 9 different countries. My love affair became an addiction – and an expensive one at that! Read more

#holidayclicheagram

#holidayclicheagram

I’m about to jet off to Borneo for another Dad and Daughter Great Adventure. Last year we went to Cambodia and on each day of our trip I posted a Holiday Clicheagram on Instagram. We’ve all seen these shots before on our friend’s feed – or you’ve taken them yourself! Hey, I’m just as guilty of dragging out the cliché holiday snap. So, I’ve decided to continue my #holidayclicheagram series for this trip. I was going to say that I will you surprise you with my shots…but you will have probably seen them all before anyway. Follow me on Instagram (@bthacker) to get the latest pics! And just to remind you, these are my delightfully clichéd clicheagrams from last year… Read more

20-best-travel-books

The 20 best travel books (not including mine!)

I’m about to head off on a trip and for my holiday reading I’ve decided to take one of my old favourite travel books with me. The only problem is that I’ve gone through my entire book shelf (which is mostly made of travel guide books and travel literature) and I can’t decide which book to take. I have so many favourites. If I could take (and read!) 20 books with me these would be my 20 favourite travel books:

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dog-house-idaho-airbnb

The 14 wackiest places to stay with Airbnb.

There was an old tourist who stayed in a shoe. Actually, anyone can stay in this shoe. It’s one of the wacky places to stay in listed on Airbnb. I follow Airbnb on Instagram because I love seeing all the amazing and cool places that you can stay in, but there are also some seriously kooky places you can stay in as well. I’ve trowled my way through the Airbnb website and found my 14 favourite wackiest places to doss down for the night (make sure you click some of the links to the actual Airbnb sites – the insides of some are just as kooky!):

 

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5-best-travel-instagrammers

The 5 best travelling Instagrammers.

I joined Instagram not long after it started and for quite a few months I had no followers or followed anyone (although that was because there was no one I knew to follow). My first post (since deleted) was a shot of my foot. I loved the filters and frames on Instagram and it soon became my favourite app and social media tool – even if no one was seeing my brilliant post of my blue Converse runner on grey carpet.  Since then of course it was sold to Facebook for a paltry billion dollars (that’s Instagram was sold, not my brilliant shoe pic) and now has over 300 million monthly users (more then Twitter) and I at last have some followers! Read more

street-food-vietnam

The best street food on the street.

Street food is certainly big in Australia right now. Every night there is a small army of food trucks touting any kind of street snack you can imagine, and ‘street food’ or ‘hawker food’ restaurants are popping up everywhere. Only a short stroll from where I live there has been a string of ‘street food’ restaurants that have opened up recently, including Radio Mexico, Hanoi Hannah, Si Senor Art Taqueria, Saigon Street Eats and Uncle. Melbourne now even has a big International Street Food Festival. But, long before we in Australia jumped on the street food wagon it has been an integral part of the street life of cities and towns around the world for hundreds of years. Read more

ultimate-mancation

Where to go for a Mancation.

I often get asked for travel advice (which I love giving because I love any excuse to talk about travel) and if it’s about a certain destination then I usually have some ideas of what to do or where to stay or were to eat. But last week a guy I was working with asked me, ‘I want to go away on a Mancation. Where should I go?’. Besides the fact that there are so many different places to go to in the world, there are also countless ways to have fun and experiences to have. We ended up figuring out that what he wanted was a trip away with a mate with lots of adventure and lots of partying. We got it down to Queenstown and Vegas. So, what are other good Mancations? Here are the Top Ten from my travels: Read more

Vietnam local feast

Dining with locals.

‘What was your best meal?’ That’s the first question I ask friends when they have returned from a trip – whether it’s a three month backpacking trip to Africa or a week holiday in Queensland. Trying (and savouring) different foods is such a big part of travelling for me, so I love to hear about other people’s culinary adventures. Recently I asked that question to a friend and they told me that their food highlight was a meal at a local’s house. ‘It was better than any restaurant meal we had,’ he said. ‘And better wine!’ I must say that on quite few trips of mine I have eaten with locals (and not at a restaurant) and had some of the best food I’ve ever eaten. Not only is it truly authentic local food, it is often lovingly prepared. But, you don’t have to know a local to eat a local meal. There are a number of websites where you can ‘book’ a table at a local’s house. EatWith and WithLocals are much like Aribnb by connecting people who have an interest in cooking to people who are looking to eat out and eat local food. Dinner guests pay a fee similar to what you would pay if you went out to a restaurant. I’ve been lucky enough on many occasions to experience local food (and local hospitality). Here are some of my favourites over the years: Read more

brian-thacker-wildlife-encounter-blog

A wild wildlife encounter.

On my recent trip to Nusa Lembongan (a small island off the south-east coast of Bali) I went on a snorkelling trip to Manta Point on the southern side of neighbouring island Nusa Penida. As the name might suggest Manta Point is a favourite hangout for Manta Rays. Or most of the time it is at least – our skipper told us (me and a Brazilian couple who I chartered the boat with) that he couldn’t guarantee we’d see any. And he was right. The only rays we saw were of the sun variety. But, our skipper wasn’t about to give up. We chugged around to another cove where the water was so rough that metre-high swells were smashing into the shear limestone cliffs. As soon as we arrived our skipper screamed, ‘Manta!’ and told us to quickly jump into the water. I dived in and immediately found myself smack in the middle between two huge creatures the size of small cars. One of their massive rippling wings brushed past me and I’m not ashamed to say that I almost wet my swimming trunks. I then floated, bobbing about on the surface of the sea while getting beaten around by the swell, while the mantas gracefully swam around us. At one point the larger of the two came straight at me with it’s mouth open – which looked as if it could swallow me whole – then glided directly underneath me. Read more

New Bali Airport Terminal

World’s best (and worst) airport?

I’ve just returned from a trip to Bali and boy was I surprised when I arrived (and departed from) Bali Ngurah Rai International Airport. When I was last in Bali five years ago the airport was pretty much one step up from an oversized tin shed. It’s now a big, new, shiny, clean and well-run airport. There are no more waiting in a hot line for immigration. The pay on arrival visa system is quick (although it has gone up from $US25 to $US35) and we were out in less than an hour after landing. I always bemoaned that it was one of my least favourite airports in the world. In one of my long flights this year I wrote down all the airports I have been to in my travels over the years (and yes I was bored – I’d seen all the movies and read the inflight magazine twice). I have passed through 167 airports (now that’s a lot of shops to wander aimlessly around). And during my travels I also managed to visit what I consider to be the best and worst airports in the world. And other travellers tend to agree with me it seems. A recent global poll of airline passengers from 160 countries voted for the best and worst airports of 2014.  These are the results from the survey: Read more